Become an Elephant Yoga Blogger Right Here Right Now.

Via on May 26, 2011

Hi, everyone. Recently someone suggested that Elephant Yoga should have its own open blogging community, where anyone can create their own blog.

Then it occurred to me, why not experiment with this idea by simply opening up a weekly Community Blog where anyone can write whatever they like, and others can comment.

So that’s what I’m doing here. Write your own blogs as comments below. If you already have a blog, you are welcome to cut and paste your best blogs here, with a link to your blog, of course.

To subscribe and get e-mail notices, all you have to do is write a comment or reply, choosing to get e-mail notification for either just replies to that comment, or to all comments.

Register with Intense Debate and enter your bio, photo, and links there. This will appear in a pop-up when a reader mouses over your photo.

Voila! Instant Open Community!

We will excerpt the best entries and discussions in the next week’s Community Blog. Some will undoubtedly become Elephant Yoga articles.

Let’s give it a shot. This will thrive or die on the vine, depending on your participation. We’ll learn something either way.

It’s a grand experiment, but so is about 90% of what you’re seeing on Elephant Yoga these days.

I like that about us.

Bob Weisenberg
Yoga Editor

P.S. If you have suggestions or think this is an utterly hare-brained idea, write that in a comment here, too.

~

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About Open Yoga Blogging Community

Welcome to Elephant's Open Yoga Blogging Community where you can write whatever you like, and others can comment. Elephant writer Bethany Eanes has generously agreed to serve as discussion moderator. 1) Write your own blogs as comments here. If you already have a blog, you are welcome to cut and paste your best blogs here. 2) To subscribe and get e-mail notices, write a comment or reply, choosing to get e-mail notification for either just replies to that comment, or to all comments. 3) Register with Intense Debate and enter your bio, photo, and links there. This will appear in a pop-up when a reader mouses over your photo. 4) We will excerpt the best entries and discussions in the next week’s Community Blog. Some will become Elephant Yoga articles. --Bob W. Yoga Editor

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59 Responses to “Become an Elephant Yoga Blogger Right Here Right Now.”

  1. I'm subscribing to all comments by entering this comment and selecting "All new comments" below.

    • Nice idea!
      Yay for open blogging!!!

      Remember “The One that Got Away”?
      Was it unrequited love?
      Was it someone else’s crush, unrealized by you?
      Was it young love? Puppy love? Was it an actual puppy you couldn’t take home?
      Was it a dream or a fantasy you never got to play out?
      A goal, a race, a yoga pose?
      Tell me about it, stud.
      I have more fantasies than the average human. I daydream constantly, and I mean like every 5 minutes I’m building up a scenario in my mind. About marrying that really nice produce clerk at the grocery store. About owning my own hot spring hotel in Japan one day. About becoming a doctor or hot air balloonist or a magician. Or even just a faster swimmer. Better cook. Better writer. Guitar goddess. Having 6-pack abs. Climbing Mount Everest. Bike-camping from Colorado to Panama.
      I sometimes tell myself that the problem with having all these dreams is that I’ve chased a lot of different paths, tried a lot of different things but I’m still not really good at any of them. I’m simply mediocre at a whole lot of things. This is not a good feeling. “Mediocre” is not a happy word.
      My recent journey, including break-ups, career changes and let-downs, has been that of serious self-confidence work. Becoming a personal trainer, you have to know what your client is going through to really break through when they say they can’t lose the weight, run the mile, lift the weight. Whatever goal they had that was the “One that Got Away’. I do know. I’ve been there. It sucks. But in a week or two, I promise, it won’t matter…..

      From http://thefitnesscurve.com/blog
      on my personal training bus. website!!
      Sara

  2. dionne says:

    Great idea Bob n co! Ok, here goes nothing, hope i understood this correctly! Here´s an old post related to fear. Seemingly appropriate!

    Now There´s That Fear Again! Morning Playlist // 60 mins

    So, theme of the week = FEAR! I feel it needs capitals for extra shock value. Like it needs it. This week i shared some of my fears with the classes, (a top ten if you will, cue Disc Jockey voice) and i thought, for “fun” i´d add them to this post, just to give some extra jelly to the playlist. Here goes:

    1) Spiders. Terrified.

    2) Being the centre of attention. Hence why i became a yoga teacher.

    3) Public toilets. Ucksville.

    4) Trolls. I don´t get it. And you can take them down from Fløyen whilst you´re at it.

    5) Having my picture taken. You´ll notice the same bewildered expression upon each photo.

    6) Failure.

    7) Being late and missing something. Including life. Which leads us to…

    8 ) Death/dying.

    9) Horror films. Useless.

    10) Pickles. I don´t trust them.

    Most fear (although at times very real and scary) tends to be based on an irrational feeling the mind has attached to, working it´s way into (in most cases) being worse than the actuality. The powerful mind can convince us to latch onto anything we allow it to, be that terror, hysteria or lust (etc).

    Sometimes we just have to stare into those (eight) eyes and accept what gets washed up, and rather than run screaming into the night in one´s dressing gown (oh, just me then?), we can see it for what it really is. A feeling. That is possible to change at any moment. What is really interesting is when we start to explore a little deeper into the seat of this particular feeling.

    So, before the ´hits´i´ll leave you with a (veggie) sausage:

    “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth” Pema Chodron

    Tracklist
    Solar Bears – Cub
    Múm – Now There’s That Fear Again
    TV On The Radio – Second Song
    Gnarls Barkley – Smiley Faces
    Fever Ray – When I Grow Up
    Madonna – Lucky Star
    The Whitest Boy Alive – Courage
    Jamie Woon – Spirits
    MC Yogi – Krishna Dub – Feat. Sharon Gannon – Remix – Bonus Track
    A Race of Angels – golden
    Gold Panda – Parents
    James Blake – Give Me My Month
    Joshua Radin – No Envy No Fear
    Beach House – Real Love
    Amel Larrieux – try your wings

    This post is taken from my yoga blog which you can find here: http://dionneelizabeth.com/blog/
    Thank you!

  3. If You Ever Had Enough

    What I have now, probably for the first time ever in my life, is enough.

    I am not complacent about it.

    I recognize that relationships are active and therefore require tending. I know that nothing about the strata of society I occupy is immune to disaster.

    But in societal terms I have come to recognize as my norm, what I have is plenty. There isn’t a single thing or experience I lack. My emotional well brims and is replenished continually.

    Perhaps this is what has been nagging at me of late.

    My conscious mind – conditioned as it has been by years of North America consumer driven life-style and middle-class faux career ambition – feels I am not working hard enough to be … what? I don’t know. My inner-self has been quite weepy about it in a pushed around little girl sort of way.

    She knows we have enough. Time to acknowledge it and let a few things go.

    I have dreams. Modest and unassuming. But they are not deal-breakers for me and really never were.

    I have enough. It’s almost verboten to say that out loud as many people fear it invites the active mocking of the fates. That’s flatly ridiculous. Nothing is permanent and fate has nothing to do with that anyway.

    If you ever had enough, could you recognize it?

    A fair question.

  4. Daphne Sullivan says:

    I got to tonight’s yoga class a few minutes late and when I walked in there were no spots left. Well, no spots that I wanted. There was the spot that was too close to the heater, the spot by the girl with the breast implants that’s always looking at herself in the mirror, and the spot by the girl from my gym that thinks she’s Seane Corn and always plunks her mat next to the Teacher because she probably thinks that she should be teaching the class.
    I walked in and tried to find a place for my mat and in a split second decided that I just couldn’t stay. I had to have MY spot in the corner, away from everyone. My spot where I would be alone, quiet, inside myself tonight. You see that’s what I needed all day. I thought about that moment the whole ride to the studio. I thought about all the stressful things that are going on in my life. I wanted the problems of the week to drip off me slowly with every forward fold and when I couldn’t get my spot, I flipped.
    I am almost at the end of my RYT-200 Hour Yoga Teacher Certification course and trying to be a yogi in every way but I still behave so “un-yogi-like” when things like this happen. I’m trying to bring the elements of yoga into my life and to approach every situation from a point of awareness, gratitude and flexibility. I am trying to breathe though the stress of a divorce, a debilitating hip injury, a son diagnosed with depression and having $12.14 cents left in my bank account every month after all my bills are paid. I was so angry with myself as I walked back to the car for not staying and finding a place, any place to set my mat and just practice. It was just too much tonight, not having my way, not getting what I wanted. I realized as I drove home that I am in the infancy of my yoga practice. I should have been able to set my mat anywhere in that room, connect with what’s inside with my mat set on the uncomfortable spot and sit with the discomfort of poses that I don’t like or am very good at like Crow. I know that when I learn to do that I will be able to do the same in my life. I will be able to breathe deeply through the tough spots and somehow make it through any obstacle. I want my yoga practice to extend beyond my mat. I want to be able to walk into a crowded class where only the uncomfortable spots are left and just practice. When that day comes then I will know that I am really a yogi. Tonight I realized that I have a very long way to go.

    This may be my very first blog post….now to the business of building one.

    • And a very good one it is, Daphne. You describe the tension between the Yogic ideal and daily life quite vividly. Thanks for being here.

      Bob W. Yoga Editor

      • Daphne Sullivan says:

        Bob,

        It's an honor to contribute to EJ as I have been enjoying your wonderful content every day since I discovered you on Facebook a few months ago. To have an open forum for your readers is a great idea! Thank you.

  5. Johan Duluc says:

    Rise…
    Life comes at us in many different ways as we walk our paths. There are times of great joy where we feel completely self assured and free and alive and then there are moments when we feel utterly beaten as if we have no strength left in our muscles to carry on another day, to fight another round. In that moment, when we look in the mirror and we either decide to fight or we decide to succumb to fear and sadness and self pity is the moment where we find out who we are, for better or worse.

    It’s the story we love to hear, it’s the story we pay $12.50 to see over and over again to watch it told to us a zillion different ways…
    The fighter. The girl or guy who may be down, but never out, the person who gives every ounce of what they are to do what they know is right in whatever capacity that may be, the businessman who holds true to his values and turns down opportunities to make a fast buck at the expense of his own integrity and in the face of peril, the woman who rises to the top of a company despite a long, arduous road of social discrimination and gender bias. Oh yeah, and Rocky.

    The point I’m trying to make is, if you are, in fact, a living, breathing human being chances are at several points in your life you are going to be placed in situations that are less than comfortable. While in these types of situations you will be offered relief in various forms. The easiest thing would be to end the nightmare and go to a warm bed and a warm plate. But you must ask yourself, am I compromising what’s in my heart?

    The only way to truly live life to its fullest potential is to follow your heart. Chances are you’ll fall, chances are you’ve probably already fallen, but that doesn’t mean you’ve failed. Remember why you’re doing what you’re doing; remind yourself that your heart’s purest desire is what moves you from day to day.
    And if you’re down, rise.

    You can read more of my musings on my blog: eldragonfitness.com

  6. Vixen says:

    Yay! Great idea. Now I gottta get writing!

  7. danielsimpson says:

    One from the UK, originally posted here:

    Finding myself, the Iyengar way
    By Daniel Simpson

    My first ever yoga class was disappointing. I didn’t spontaneously levitate; nor were we asked to try, let alone fail, to wrap our knees behind our heads and lie down flat.

    Instead, we lined up on strips of what felt like carpet underlay, in a room that resembled the assembly hall of my junior school. The only hints of The East were wafts of incense, and a couple of magical realist statues of deities.

    Shiva and Ganesh I recognised from India, along with some photos on the walls. These showcased dozens of poses of varying implausibility, performed by a semi-naked man with slicked-back hair. I’d seen them in a book I bought off a street-seller in Delhi years before. It remained in my rucksack throughout my travels, and had since stood unread on my shelves. Though it promised to shed “Light on Yoga”, I’d have to decipher it first. And since the text was disarmingly dense, I’d filed it away for a time when I had sufficient patience, and got on with enjoying my holiday.

    By 2004, I had more time than I knew what to do with. I was unemployed and depressed, achieving little more most days than smoking cannabis, which kept me happily unemployed, and depressed. Then someone suggested joining his yoga class. That it was Iyengar yoga meant nothing to me, until the photographic déjà vu. Had I found Mr Iyengar’s teachings at last, I wondered, or had he found me despite myself?

    At first, it appeared to be neither. After sitting cross-legged, then standing for bracing arm lifts, we were invited to bend down and touch our toes. I couldn’t recall an age at which this was possible. Certainly not as a rugby-playing teenager, and far less as the couch cabbage I’d become. After five years abroad as a journalist, I’d given up on all but feeling sorry for myself, and ranting about media corruption. When my employers helped to sell the Iraq war, I’d resigned to run a music festival in Belgrade. Though 150,000 people came, the takings vanished, apparently stolen by the armed men we’d hired as security. I’d retreated to Britain feeling cheated, nursing a bruised ego, and planning to blow all my savings. Beyond that, I had few ambitions.

    But suddenly my competitiveness was piqued. Could I maybe reach my feet before I died? The question wasn’t entirely overblown. I felt like I was dying inside, and my hamstrings threatened to snap if my hands passed my knees, never mind trying to rest my chin below them. In fact, if we didn’t stand up soon, I’d vomit on the mat. Yet all around me, middle-aged women flipped forward, apparently contented. How could they be better at this than me, a young man straining and sweating, fighting himself? There could only be one answer: yoga sucked.

    So why didn’t I just walk out the room? For all my self-consciousness, I felt welcome. I’d arrived full of worry that I smelled of smoke. And now I was fretting I didn’t look suitably yogic, which could only reveal how angst-ridden I was. But the class slowly silenced this chatter. There wasn’t a moment of clarity as much as a dawning sense of different possibilities. “No gripping”, we were told; “let go”, and “breathe”, and the hard work of stretching felt more feasible. The knot in my stomach loosened slightly, and my spine grew straighter and strong. By the end, I felt warmed from within. The teacher’s firm instructions softened as we laid our legs up the wall and reclined, eyes closed. “Relax but stay alert,” he said. “Feel yourself sink into the floor.”

    It was all so paradoxically confusing that I had to come back. And because the classes were at night, they stopped me smoking all day. Turning up stoned was unthinkable. The teacher seemed able to see through me, referring as he did to such unfamiliar anatomy as the dorsal spine, armpit chest and floating ribs. Besides, yoga was making me face my limits. Accepting what I couldn’t do was part of doing what I could, and as both changed from class to class, from moment to moment, I felt awakened.

    That was illusory too, as the teacher explained while I drifted. “Yoga is awareness,” he said, “not falling asleep.” Having so much to learn was unexpectedly appealing. Yoga could teach me commitment, and surrender to something bigger than me, which promised transformation if I fused with it. Within a year, I’d stopped smoking, and felt my horizons expanding. Perhaps Mr Iyengar’s message had reached me, even though I hadn’t read his book. “Stretching of the body is not yoga,” he once said. “The self has to penetrate outside, just as the body has to look within.”

    Six years later, I’m still learning.

    • ntathu says:

      awesome…love your story. yoga is so immense and so deep. its way more, as you realise than just touching your toes. I remember teaching a student the other day. We did ankle circle.Simple ankle circles. My client hadnt seen her ankles in years and didnt know they could move. She was so grateful for the fact that she could stretch and point her toes and make circles with her ankles. I struggle with pigeon and crow pose, so hearing my student's joy in circling her ankles really humbled and reminded me of the greatness of yoga and that we are all beginners.

  8. aarmo says:

    It was one of those brutal yoga classes, the kind where there are no breaks between poses to really enjoy the release, and the kind where my muscles cramp up first and my mind follows suit. I had invited my best friend from high school and her husband to join my husband and me at this class, expecting the regularly scheduled teacher’s typically great work out and some laughs. As it turned out, the regular teacher was out of town and so his wife decided to show her stuff to his groupies. She’s all of about 110lbs and can balance on one foot with the knee of the other leg wrapped securely around the back of her neck. By wearing jeans to lead the class, she verified for the rest of us that when you don’t eat you also don’t have to worry about your seams splitting. I’m pretty certain that handstands bore her; she much prefers fingerstands…something like handstands only you don’t need the help of your palms or the other eight fingers to balance.

    My friend Patti is a personal trainer, so as the class got more intense so did she. She actually believes in her core muscles enough to do more than laugh at the teacher as she tried to convince us we really could go from bakasana (crow pose—an arm balance with the knees resting on the elbows) to a handstand without having our feet touch the floor. Her husband, and perhaps the remainder of the class, including me, took option B: laugh at how ridiculous it is to even imagine that happening in this life. After all, laughing is always a great option, and exercise for the diaphragm and core to boot.

    We wrapped up the masochism dubbed as yoga session, and were dressing for savasana, final relaxation. Sweaty and spent, despite my grumbling at the exertion I was coerced into, I realized had a great yoga buzz and was feeling quite jolly. The room quieted as everyone’s breath and the music slowed. Lying on the floor, warm under my blanket, I began cycling through familiar last minute adjustments, separating my feet at just the right distance so my hips can relax, curling my shoulders under to open my heart, lengthening my neck, taking a few deep mindful breaths and then the final adjustment to my arms. As I stretched my fingers in order for them to relax into their favorite resting position, the back of my left fingers fell into Patti’s right palm. It felt awkward, it felt unusual, and it was intimate. After ninety minutes of mindful movement, listening to my body and mind and how they react to being lead into this position or that, I found myself in this new yoga pose, with a beautiful opportunity to notice what silently touching my friend of 32 years feels like. A rush of feelings came up, everything from mild embarrassment, to wondering if it is ok, to that sudden reaction of touching someone you’re not physically intimate with, to the flood of societal “norms” that exist between her and I that have prevented this from ever happening before. Holding hands is an intimacy young girls have with friends so unabashedly, before they know any of the possible implications it brings. For two 45 year old women it was strange, unfamiliar, even unnerving.

    Patti’s fingers lay still. She probably didn’t know what to do, or perhaps since my fingers invaded her palm she figured it was for me to address. If we were lying on the beach I may have pulled away without thinking. In the sacred space of having just shared a yoga practice together, I didn’t need to. Instead, I pressed down into her palm, moved my fingers from left to right so she knew that I wanted to feel her, so she knew no part of me would ever reject being closer to her. Much like the prior 90 minutes we had practiced yoga together, in the three decades since we met, we’ve shared laughs and struggled through the positions life has lead us into. Sometimes life was a very mean yoga teacher in leather pants with sinister ideas about what was best for us. Sometimes life was a ball of laughter despite that. Through it all we have held each other in so many of the non physical ways that turn friends into family, loved and encouraged each other and laughed together time after time.

    I took a deep breath in awe of the blessing our friendship has been, rested my fingers down into her palm and felt her fingertips curl around mine.

  9. Kristen says:

    How and What to eat

    Hello,

    I have just returned from my plyometrics and weight training then I did a detox yoga flow which is a 75minute yoga class focusing on back bends, spinal twists and sun salutation A. It really opens the body since it has many spinal inversions and helps to eliminate impurities by focusing on deep breaths that cleanse the lungs of stale air. Afterwards, I came home and had some fresh herbs with mango and a chamomile tea. This evening I am feeling refreshed and invigorated. I love to exercise my body and mind with combining fitness and yoga then nourishing my body with fresh foods and water. This has inspired me to write about the principles of eating and making wise decisions about how we eat and what we eat. Fit body, Fit mind. Nourishing our bodies and practicing daily fitness brings clarity, strength, balance, focus, serenity and positivity.

    –My Nutrition Manifesto–

    3 Important tips on how to eat and what to eat.

    –Choose FRESH, not FAST–

    Did it ever occur to you what hunger actually is? No it’s not just your stomach saying “feed me!” And it’s not just a signal saying that it’s meal time.
    It’s actually a signal that is triggered once there is a nutritional void or energy deficiency in your body. The only way to satisfy this void is by nourishing your body with whole foods, rich in essential vitamins and minerals. Fit people eat for health. Fat people eat for pleasure. Okay I read this, always remembered it but I think it’s false… food is a simple pleasure in life that should be enjoyed by everyone. I shared it because the underlying meaning is quite powerful. FIT PEOPLE EAT FOR HEALTH….eating is essential in maintaining proper health.

    Think about what happens when we eat highly-processed foods, like for instance, a hamburger and fries from a fast-food joint compared to if we had a fresh salad with many raw fruits and veggies. People always say to me that I’m crazy and “how can you get full of vegetables and fruits?” Well we must remember what hunger is : satisfying nutritional and energy deficiencies. So, maybe someone would be more full from eating processed foods. Why? Because it is hard to break down and digest. It enters our body and we have to work extra hard to break down the components into usable energy forms, thus making us feel full and tired.

    On the other side of the spectrum, someone that ate a raw, unprocessed meal would not feel “full” right away but would be doing better for their body. They would not feel full right away because whole foods are “lighter” on our bodies and are quick transition, meaning they digest quickly. Once digestion is in process, we feel energy and satiated for a longer period of time, without the tiredness that comes with processed foods. Our bodies feel invigorated and energized but not to the point of an energy-high that comes with high-sugar processed foods.

    –Spend MORE, eat LESS–

    Why don’t you try and take a guess at how many people make the most ridiculous remark to me weekly. “But Kristen….eating healthy is expensive.” WRONG!!!! I get so frustrated when people say this to me. When selecting foods, we should focus on quality rather than quantity. Afterall, why do we eat? To satisfy our hunger and to fill this, we must nourish our nutritional voids by eating nutrient rich foods such as plants. It’s not about eating until you are full, it’s about eating until you are content. In fact, if you are stuffing yourself with highly processed foods and eat until you are full, you will create another energy void and become tired, then want to eat more. It’s a vicious cycle if you don’t treat your body right.

    Eating whole foods that are quick transition allow nutrients and energy to be digested and disperses energy gradually. Sure it takes longer to “feel full” but eating is not about having the satisfaction of that fullness feeling, it is about nourishing our bodies. Less is more, don’t focus on choosing low-cost meal alternatives. Spend more on quality, organic foods from markets. In fact, try to stay away from super markets because they are full of processed foods that can be distracting. Try to find a local market and do most of your grocery shopping there. Rather than focusing on getting the best bang for your buck, focus on getting the best nutrients for your body. Health is the best investment.

    –Stock your FRIDGE, not your CUPBOARDS–

    Barcodes? Labels? Prices? These are not things that should be found on food. Foods should be found in their natural state. Raw, whole and natural. Vivid colours, complex textures and fragrant aromas are found on whole foods.

    Boxes? Cans? Bags? These are not things that food should come from. Food should come from farms. Foods should be grown freely and not processed. If you like, you can process your food at home, maybe in a blender to make a delectable smoothie or in a food processor to make some spreads or soups.

    My cupboards are pretty bare, but my fridge is often stocked with plenty fresh foods. It’s better to buy groceries often and continually stock your fridge rather than grocery shopping maybe once a week and having foods with long shelf lives in your cupboards.

    I hope this post has inspired some people to live a healthier and more active life. For me, one of the most important things in my life is finding mind and body balance through fitness and nutrition.

    Kristen

    • ntathu says:

      Love the saying stock your fridge not your cupboard. It is a balance. I am a mum and at times, the pennies are tight and then I have to make the choice between quantity and quality. I try to buy organic as I know it is better for myself and girls yet sometimes you have to adapt.

  10. Kristen says:

    Nice idea, but when I posted my post it was too long! : (((

  11. Daniel Scharpenburg DanielSchar says:

    DHARMA I HAVE LEARNED FROM CHILDREN
    by Daniel Scharpenburg

    "AH RAH PAT SA NA DI DI!" – my four year old daughter Nissa, shouting the mantra of Manjushri, Bodhisattva of Wisdom

    I can’t believe how interested my daughter is in Buddhist practice. She’s only four, but she is more interested in learning about Buddhism than she is in learning any of the other things I’ve been trying to teach her. Taking her to the Sunday Dharma School at the Rime Center makes her very happy. She is thrilled that I teach her and the other children about Buddhism. However, like any four year old, she does get distracted once in a while.

    There are usually ten to fifteen kids, between the ages of 3 and 12. It’s hard to have lessons that can interest the very young kids and the oldest ones, but we do pretty well. I feel like I’ve learned as much from the kids as they have learned from me and the other teachers.

    We chant mantras at the Rime Center. We chant them in a nice and relaxing way. When the children chant the mantras, they get excited. Nissa shouts the mantras and the other kids sometimes giggle. But it makes me wonder, why shouldn’t we be excited about chanting a mantra for greater wisdom or compassion? It is exciting, isn’t it?

    Buddhism teaches the interconnectedness of all things. Kids seem to understand that intuitively. Maybe as we get older, we accumulate more delusion. I’m not sure. And they are compassionate too, most of the time. Nissa saw some kids squishing bugs on the sidewalk one time and asked them to stop. I asked her why and she told me that she felt compassion for the bugs. They weren’t doing anything wrong. They were just outside living their bug lives.

    With only a few exceptions once in a while, all of the kids in the Dharma School want to be there. But, some of them do have trouble focusing sometimes. They are excited about participating. They get to make offerings to the shrine and lead mantras. We all do prostrations together, with a child leading us. Letting them participate is important and they certainly learn more through participation.

    But, it’s not all reciting mantras. We also do activities. Sometimes we do crafts and sometimes we read stories to the children. The kids usually enjoy crafts the most. My daughter has had the opportunity to make her own Tibetan Prayer Flag and her own Thangka. She was very proud of them and I have put them on the wall in her bedroom. I don’t know if the other children are as proud of their crafts as my child, but I suspect they are.

    Then, we let all the kids play. There are a few games and toys in the Dharma School. I am very glad to say that in spite of their diverse age differences, all of the kids seem to play together very well. There are very few arguments and there is no fighting. They act like a community. That could be because of the very positive atmosphere of the Rime Center or I suppose it could be because they are being raised by their parents with Buddhist values. I don’t know, but it is a great thing to see.
    I would like to see more parents get involved in the Dharma School. Very few of them come up to see what we do. Most of them are in a rush to go downstairs and participate in the Buddhist Service. Which is fine, but I think they would benefit from seeing how the kids do it once in a while. I think that practicing Buddhism with children is just as moving as practicing Buddhism with other adults. Helping them learn is a very rewarding spiritual experience.

  12. nicoleteachesyoga says:

    Sit Down & Shush

    Take a moment to pause. Close your eyes (wait not yet). Recall your day thus far. Not so much what you liked or disliked about your day, but instead, simply noting your activities from waking until this moment . . .

    Generally, we are busy people. Our sense organs are offered stimuli and our mind distractions from the moment our alarm goes off in the morning to the moment our head hits the pillow at night. Even our “down time”, that bit of day meant for rest and relaxation, is filled with television, internet, newspapers, video games . . . the list could go on. It is not often in our day -in our lives- that we stop, be quiet, and pay attention to our internal experience.

    I start most days sitting on my kitchen floor staring (ahem, softly gazing) at the ugly brown tile on the wall. For twenty minutes, I pay attention to the feeling of body, the feeling of breath, and notice what else arises in experience.

    Sitting isn’t easy for me. Resistance arises in response to the idea of getting onto that cushion, and I have to drag (and I mean drag) my sleepy butt to the floor. That bit of struggle aside, I recently realized that this time is the only period of my day where I stop, take the time to be quiet, and unhook my attention from all the people, things and situations around me and turn it towards what’s going on INSIDE.

    In this time, I am able to notice the patterning of thoughts, sensations in the body, the movement, tightness or expansion of breath. I hear the sounds in my environment with a simplicity that allows storytelling to fall away. I meet resistance with a welcoming attitude, exploring how aversion feels in mind, body and breath.

    Of course, this practice of turning inward isn’t a new one. Patanjali included it in his eight limbs of yoga (called pratyahara) thousands of years ago. Nonetheless, in our pop-centric culture jam-packed with sense stimuli to consume, it is helpful to remember what it is we’re doing when we practice yoga. Whether on the cushion or on the sticky mat, we focus on our posture and breath to turn inward, build concentration, and ultimately intimately see things as they are.

    —–
    http://nicoleteachesyoga.com/2011/05/28/sit-down-

  13. Anna Sheinman Anna says:

    What is your perfect future? And what are you doing for it right now?
    web (formatted version: http://streamoflifeyoga.com/blog/?p=333

    I was not into physics in school at all. I skipped most of the classes and whenever I made it – I found it really boring, until I discovered the mind blowing concept of yoga, followed by the quantum physics, parallel universes, endless possibilities and the black holes. Interestingly, once you’re into something “things” come to our awareness and awaken the memory. Anyhow, a few weeks ago, I was reading “Be Love Now” book by Ram Das and one of the stories made me dig out the “Yoga of Time Travel” by Fred Alan Wolf out of the closet.

    With an introduction from Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland and the followed by an stanza from Bhagavad Gītā 11.32 [The Supreme Lord said: “Time I am, the great destroyer of the worlds; even without you, will all the people here, all the fighters who took positions on opposite sides be engaged in destroying], this book proved to be a special treat.

    Expert from the Bhagavad Gītā chapter One:

    In the early part of the first millennium BCE, Indian Philosophers found evidence for the beginning of what we today call perennial philosophy. It can be stated in 3 sentences:

    1) An infinite, unchanging reality exists hidden behind the illusion of ceaseless change.

    2) This infinite, unchanging reality lies at the core of every being and is the substratum of the personality.

    3) Life has one main purpose: to experience this one reality – to discover God.

    The book story unfolds with the discussion of Yoga Sutra II.5. Alan Wolf defines klesas as five barriers to reaching the state of egoless mind. He explains that yoga is will help you detach your mind from the physical constraints that impede you from travelling forwards and backwards in time. There are several references to Raja Yoga and Transcendental Meditation.

    The following chapters discuss an insight of the theory of quantum physics, parallel universe and mechanics of ordinary and extraordinary time travel. Some of the modern trends in physics are explained as well. There are many more mind blowing and puzzling chapters on time and other similar subjects.

    To conclude, the idea is to free ourselves from the constraints of time through meditation and by entering into the timeless realm where we can surrender the ego – Yogah-Citta-Vrtti-Nirodhaha – practice yoga to cease the fluctuations. Alan Wolf also explains that we can travel back by remembering and changing our past where we can learn from our mistakes and forgive ourselves and others.

    And the time travel is theoretically possible, or at least not barred by the laws of physics!

    I was totally captured by this book and spend most of my weekend and every bit of a free time reading it. I was entertaining some “what if” ideas…What if I can go back in time and talk to my younger self (regardless of the time travel possible paradoxes and realities)? I would ask my younger self not to smoke, do better in school, not to drink and not to go out with these not so nice fellows…but then I wouldn’t be who I am today. What about all the obstacles and knowledge which came from these experiences? If I was never overweight and never smoked – I wouldn’t be the same person now.

    I also imagined my perfect future where I am teaching full time in my perfect studio in the mountains. I am super skinny with a few kids. My body is perfect. I can get into any asana and meditate with no interruption. I control my senses. I help a lot of people and teach yoga and hopefully can make the world a little better place.

    I know Sanskrit and Spanish. I travel, hike, rock-climb, ski and organize retreats. My studio is very profitable and I donate and teach for charity. I write for magazines and have a few published books. I completed yoga therapy teaching training and studies with Gary Kraftsov.

    Hmmmm…What can I do today to get this future? Revisit the Sanskrit alphabet, continue with my practice and teaching, order CD from the library to learn Spanish. Say no to extra desert (i.e.: perfect body). Not so hard. All over the sudden, I am back here and now – the most precious wonderful life and the moment I have.

    What is your perfect future and what are you doing for it right now?

  14. Patheya says:

    Looking within only shone a light upon dark spirals.
    It lead to flashes of colour and great circles.

    Looking within delivered a world as intriguing
    as the one I had escaped from out side.

    I fell through gateways and fell through water,
    I spoke to animals and sat at the feet of
    my mistress the great Golden Tara.

    I was embraced by Jesus and thanked
    by angels and the great mother of us all
    Shakti,
    wove her tongue into my spine searing me
    into her service.

    For twenty years I lived within the confines
    of these walls of myth, the stuff of dreams
    and finally, when I'd drunk my fill of me,
    I could see, it was one and the same.

    I was trapped again, within the confines
    of my best intentions. I was trapped by
    the righteousness of my special path.

    Thank god I was at the end of my tether,
    because I could, with hearty thanks,
    let it go into the fire with my Buddha's arm.

    Enough of these stories holding the spotlight.
    Enough of relationships to make sense of it all.

    No more and no less than what is.
    http://patheya.blogspot.com/

  15. Kristin says:

    Notes from a Newbie

    I am somewhat new to the exciting world of yoga. I say 'somewhat' because my first encounter with yoga was roughly ten years ago when my parents gave me a yoga video after I had complained of having trouble falling asleep. Although it helped me immensely, I didn't venture outside of that particular yoga VHS. After all, I was a teenage girl interested in riding my horse, being outside, and spending time with friends.

    However, over the past few years yoga has crept back into my life and now I'm happy to say that it's here to stay. As follows for many aspiring yogis, I have started researching teacher training programs, workshops and other tools that will help me expand my own practice and someday help me share this passion with others. All the research has been quite an eye opener. In other words, it has raised some questions.

    Do I want to do a teacher training course close to home or in India? So, that is an easy one, because in an ideal situation of course I would opt for India. Which style do I want to call my yoga home? I guess that depends on when I ask myself. What does 'yoga home' mean anyway? I must have heard or read that somewhere. Wait, you can trademark yoga? Am I missing something here? How can I bring my yoga practice off the mat? And what was that about the Westernization of yoga?

    The list continues to grow, and at times it seems overwhelming. Yet, I remain intrigued and continue to dive deeper into my practice. Ten years from now I hope to be somewhere in the world teaching yoga and I wouldn't be surprised if I'm still asking myself some of these same questions.

  16. DrLisaRiolo says:

    Staying Balanced

    We all are striving to balance something. Perhaps we are learning to balance our time to juggle all the demands required of maintaining relationships while achieving in our careers and caring for our children and/or parents as they need us.

    We all are striving to balance something. Perhaps we are learning to balance our time to juggle all the demands required of maintaining relationships while achieving in our careers and caring for our children and/or parents as they need us.

    Many of us are learning to manage our money so that we can strike the appropriate balance between saving for the future and spending for the present while we pay off debts from the past.

    Some of us may be balancing our words so that we can offer criticism to employees while still relaying the fact that we appreciate what they do for us. Or we are trying to find that fine line between supporting someone in need yet maintaining our own protective boundaries.

    • DrLisaRiolo says:

      (part 2) Staying balanced may appear easier for some than for others. But no one of us has more time in a day than anyone else does. None of us has learned to grow money on trees. Each of us who cares about our relationships struggles with the way we communicate and support so we avoid misunderstandings. Those of us that seem to balance life’s challenges better than others know that to do so begins with a firm foundation in the form of friends, love, and integrity. But it also requires practice in focus and awareness. One result of this practice is learning to use the breath as a support. Think of the times you have had difficulty maintaining balance, managing your finances, or participating in a difficult conversation. You may have noticed that you were holding your breath. Holding the breath increases blood pressure and overall strain, perhaps making the situation even more difficult through this tension.

      • DrLisaRiolo says:

        (part 3) Yoga practice can help us learn to balance because on the mat we learn focus, awareness, and breath work that is required to maintain challenging poses as much as to manage life’s challenges. That is what my yoga students and I will be practicing this week. We will maintain balance and awareness in virabradrasana 2 (warrior 2 pose), checking to be sure we have equal weight on both feet and that our eye gaze remains steady over the front fingertips as our breath remains steady and long. We will work on arm balances like bakasana (crow pose) and adho mukha vrksasana (handstand). Sure, those poses require strength and flexibility, but no one will balance in these poses without focused awareness and timing the breath!

        This blog and my yoga students will help me to “practice what I preach”. I am charging myself to remember to stay present and to keep breathing when I have that difficult conversation Friday morning with an employee…

  17. DrLisaRiolo says:

    Making Food Choices a Little Easier http://www.movingmindfully.blogspot.com

    I know that most people try their best to treat their bodies well and to serve their families healthful foods. Few things make me happier because I would like everyone to feel the exuberance that results from being fit. I’m not referring to beauty as synonymous with being thin or having swimsuit-lovely figures but to the energy and joy experienced from having a healthy heart. Being fit means more than being one’s optimal weight. Being fit means being able to briskly walk across a parking lot without feeling out of breath, keeping up with one’s kids as they bicycle around the neighborhood, and feeling the heart pump with exercise but not like it feels as though it will explode.

    Creating a healthy heart requires aerobic exercise by sustaining an increased heart rate. But I’ve blogged about that previously and I will again. A healthy heart also requires a diet rich in wholesome foods. And that is what I will blog about today.

    • DrLisaRiolo says:

      (part 2)
      A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains will help anyone maintain a healthy weight and healthy lipid and cholesterol levels. The result is a healthy heart and elastic arteries so that blood is less likely to clot, blood remains a healthy viscosity, and arteries can accommodate blood pumped by the heart.

      But recognizing healthful foods can be challenged by the way foods are packaged and marketed. A food product labeled “low fat” is not necessarily healthy. It probably means that the version labeled “low fat” has fewer fat grams than the “regular” option but it could still contain more fat than the minimum daily requirements recommend. Food engineers also probably replaced the fat with added sugar and salt to replace taste lost by reducing fat. Similarly, foods labeled as “diet” or “low calorie” may have fewer fat grams and fewer calories than non-diet options but they still offer too little nutritional value to make the calories worth ingesting.

  18. DrLisaRiolo says:

    (part 3)
    Even vegetarians can choose unhealthy options. Potato chips, soda, and cheese pizza are all vegetarian options, after all, and I don’t think anyone would be fooled to think that would be a healthy diet. Fake meat products made with soy, such as lunchmeat replacements, turkey alternatives and sausage substitutes often contain more chemicals, sodium and fat than lean beef, pork and poultry. Beans, nuts, and legumes are healthier protein options.
    Many people are surprised to learn that the foods they eat are not as healthy as they thought. They had the right intentions when they replaced foods with low fat options and meat substitutes. But marketing food products is big business and food companies are motivated to present their products in a way that is often confusing, perhaps even deceiving.

    • DrLisaRiolo says:

      (part 4)
      Figuring out how to eat well doesn’t need to be difficult, however. Wholesome foods will be the best option. Fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and lean meats (if one decides to eat meat) will always be healthier choices than produced and packaged foods. I think Michael Pollan’s advice was concise and accurate when he suggested a few recommendations. He recommends selecting foods with no more than 5 ingredients.

      • DrLisaRiolo says:

        (part 5)
        That is an easy way to read a food label! More than 5 ingredients indicates that the food probably has been so processed that it has little in common with the original food item. Pollan also has said that if your grandmother wouldn’t recognize it as food, then it isn’t. All food options were whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meats before food manufacturing became big business. Another of Pollan’s recommendations is to shop only around the periphery of a grocery store, where produce, dairy, and meats are shelved. Interior and frozen food aisles contain mostly packaged and processed foods with more than 5 ingredients and less likely to be recognized by Grandma as food.

        Food manufacturers are motivated to make selecting healthy foods more confusing than it really is. The exuberance of being fit can be achieved by exercising and choosing wholesome foods and making those choices feels great!

  19. jaliff86 says:

    How Do You View Illness? A blog post about managing illness with a yoga practice. On Julie's Yoga Journal. http://www.julieyogajournal.blogspot.com/2011/05/
    Blessings!

  20. Hi, Melinda. This need to split a blog appears to only happen with Internet Explorer. If you feel comfortable doing so, try another browser, like Firefox or Google Chrome.

  21. mommyogini says:

    Live, Learn, Love
    February 10, 2011 at 12:48 am (Favorite Quotes, Food for Thought, The Journey) · Edit
    Motherhood and Yoga have taught me some of life’s most substantial and important lessons. I am constantly amazed and humbled by how much I learn from my practice and my boys.

    I have learned that contentment is, ultimately, about becoming comfortable in and feeling at home in one’s own skin. In order for this to happen, who you are on the inside has to match who you are on the outside. When this occurs, the people in your life and your environment more frequently and accurately reflect your inner and beautiful radiance. This process provides some of our biggest opportunities for growth.

    I was once told that Yoga is similar to sculpting, in that, it does not create something which is not already there. Instead, layers and fragments are carefully and selectively removed in order to reveal the beauty that already exists within. Yoga and parenting have exemplary and effective ways of eliminating inauthenticity from our character. Your practice and your children will consistently call you out when you are deviating from your truth.

    The real work, the difficult work, happens off of our mats and outside of our picture perfect moments. Accepting moments of inconsistency and failure can be grueling and intensely challenging. Forgiving yourself for them and letting go of them, even more so. We often find these concepts easier to apply to people other than ourselves; our babies, our students, even perfect strangers. The beauty of practicing these principles is that they are a bit like muscles, in that, the more you use them, the stronger and more effective they become. The more that you exercise acceptance and forgiveness with others, the easier it becomes to apply them to our own inadequacies and shortcomings.

    You learn to embrace your imperfections and begin to appreciate them as your greatest teachers. You carry on. You try again in the next moment and the moment after that. You learn to let go. Not in spite of the fact that you are gloriously human but exactly because you are.

    “I must learn to love the fool in me–the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries. It alone protects me against that utterly self-controlled, masterful tyrant whom I also harbor and who would rob me of human aliveness, humility, and dignity but for my fool.”
    ~Theodore I. Rubin, MD
    http://onmywayom.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/live-le

  22. Melinda Matthews Melinda says:

    Musical Joy

    First my oldest son taught me how to download music to my phone.

    Then, on a whim (translation: ridiculously irresistible sale price), I bought a nifty little docking device that allows me to play tunes from my music-laden phone. I installed the new gadget in my bedroom a few weeks ago.

    My world has been rocked ever since. No longer am I a silent yogini.

    Now when I wake up – eagerly – I plop my phone into the machine and blast the music. I don’t care what streams from my rather eclectic mix of classical, rock, pop, opera, rap, bubblegum, jazz, folk, oldies, interlaced with random offbeat downloads from my children. I simply go with the shuffled musical flow, stepping onto my mat to begin my sun salutations in rhythm with whatever’s playing.

    And here I confess: if the music’s really infectious, I dance through my down dogs, rocking my hips and wiggling my legs.

    It’s fun, it’s energizing, it brightens my day.

    Yet I can’t shake the sensation that – somehow, in some way – I’m being subversive.

    When I party through my practice, I am not contemplating, I am not reflecting, I am not setting intentions. I am merely living in the moment, doing what feels good.

    But isn’t that the point of yoga, somewhat – to reach a place of inner peace and harmony and (especially) joy? If Bon Jovi takes me halfway there by belting out Livin’ On A Prayer, shouldn’t that substitute for meditating on my ass or chanting to Krishna Das?

    Some might say not. But my mindset has shifted recently after a very brief but truly terrifying brush with my mortality. I realized that, somewhere along the way I’ve become far too serious, mired in the business of holding my little world together and donning the mantle of a proper adult: conscientious worker, focused yogini, diligent parent, sympathetic friend. Even my romantic relationships, though wonderful in many ways, have been surprisingly solemn, comprised of love and yearning, passion and pain; I can’t recall the last time I shared side-splitting, tear-inducing, belly-rocking laughter with a romantic partner.

    And truthfully, I doubt the fault lies with those in my life, past or present, romantic or not. It lies with me and in the sharply-honed intensity about which I have always chased after dreams, desires and what-I-think-should-bes. My shadow self, the one that wants to control and consume and wrestle people, events, actions and thoughts into my version of “right,” often prevents me from relaxing, releasing and flowing into the beautiful – perhaps joyous – moments I am given.

    Reclaiming my musical spirit has cracked the darkness, casting a sliver of warmth and sunshine upon my shadow self, pointing me down a path that feels lighter, freer and full of potential joy. I sense this is only the beginning: more laughter to follow, more freedom in my heart, more music in my soul.

  23. yokibics says:

    I too am following Bob Weisenberg's advise and "subscribing to all comments by entering this comment and selecting "All new comments" below. :) Thank you!

  24. Camille says:

    The Sanskrit term samskara translates as activator.  Samskara is like a groove on a record turning around and around in which the needle gets stuck or like and old tape that plays in our mind turning over the same thoughts, impressions, and memories.  Samskara is a cycle of action and thought that becomes our habits.  These habits often feel like fated repetitions.  When we feel stuck, it is often due to samskara.  Obsessions and compulsions have their root in the samskara of past conditions, but they can also produce positive tendencies like our life’s work, the ability to sustain relationships, and the soul’s longing for the divine.  Yoga, in the broadest sense of both practice and theory, concerns itself with the molding of samskara.  Refining samskara to such a degree that it becomes a positive force that guides life and energy is yoga.  This requires self-inquiry.  If approached with this kind of awareness, the practice of asana takes on new meaning and new life. ~JR I think something to talk about it is what yoga does for us.  A lot of us first get into yoga because it’s physically stimulating.  Depending on what type of class you take, you can sweat, build tons of fire or tapas  in the body, become more flexible, bend upside down, and relax all within an hour to 90 minutes.  But I think it’s important to really talk about what yoga does for us down at the root.  Why does it made us more calm and relaxed and easier to find our focus?  As I’ve stated before, I got into yoga because I used to dance and take gymnastics- so when I first started taking classes I was on of the youngest practitioners and probably the most flexible.  Of course my ego was going through the roof when I felt like I was the best one in the class!  Of course my practice grew over time and I took a 200 hr yoga teacher training at Charm City Yoga.  But what I started to find was that on the mat- I could clear my head and focus on just being in the space and breathing- not worrying about what I screwed up at work or my boyfriend or the dinner that I was going to make.  However, as the above states, it requires self binquiry and PRACTICE.  That’s the whole point of yoga.  It’s a MENTAL and PHYSICAL practice.  Since I’ve done yoga as well as become a teacher, I’ve realized how easy it is to become wrapped up in outside things and what we think we should and shouldn’t do.  But I have learned is that it’s ok to really put your dreams out there on the table, no matter what they are, and make them happen- all the while breathing and feeling every single moment.  Because we all know that life is short and you only have this one to live so you better live it right!! Enough rambling So practice refining your samskara this weekend ok?  Let me know how it goes.

    You can see more at my blog- http://www.camiekarma.wordpress.com

    Camille

  25. [...] few weeks ago, we opened up a forum to free thought. It was the first of its type here on Elephant Yoga, and the goal was simply to generate [...]

  26. nisavidan says:

    Marry WHAT? Marry WHO? http://nextstopuk.wordpress.com/2011/04/25/marry-

    A blog site written by an inquisitive, confused soul trying to make sense of it all………..

    I’m not going to even bullshit with this one because this topic is very important to me. When she told me she was never going to get married, which was fueled in part by her desire never to be married, I immediately replied “NO! We BOTH are going to get married someday and live happily ever after.” No amount of convincing, encouraging or force feeding of “what God says” was going to change her mind. What if she was right? What if we had passed our prime and our clocks were ticking so loud that the shit was beginning to sound like an incessantly buzzing alarm clock? What if the longer it took for us to find a mate the less likely we were to find someone we were compatible with? What if we settled for less than stellar to avoid the possibility of growing old alone? Or even worse. What if the fact that we were healthy, physically fit and attractive, mid 30s, educated, gainfully employed and STILL single meant that there was something SEVERELY WRONG with us? I mean, is it a far stretch to believe that there must be something WE’RE lacking if we’re getting passed over? I can’t do this. I’m going to make myself sick. Mulling over these thoughts is more than enough to drive anyone mad. But I’m not mad. Primarily because I have an insight into my own life and an understanding of my relationships the outside world isn’t privy to. One reason I know we’re single is because we haven’t put ourselves in circles or situations that would afford us the opportunity of meeting quality, eligible bachelors. I suppose once we leave training camp and DECIDE to get back into the game the painted picture will start to look different. To a LOT of people. Until then, we appear as old maids to the outside world. But then again, not really, if you take a closer look.

    You can fuck but that doesn’t mean your partner is “with you” or that they will stay. You can be in a relationship with someone and still feel lonely. You can be called to go out on dates and to share company and small talk without there ever being a “real” connection. It is not my intention to speak ill of or diminish the value of relationships simply because I am not in one. I DO think we have to have an understanding of the effort required to sustain a relationship and the expectations of both people who choose to enter into one together. In the past I’ve been accused of “over-analyzing” things and oftentimes scolded for using my head and not following my heart. And while this may be true, I STILL believe rational thinking coupled with a self-acceptance of our feelings and the creation of a healthy space for emotional expression separates fantasy from reality and serves to keep us grounded. And while I love the company of men and very frequently as of late, have had a craving for that thang, I am dating for marriage so I don’t waste time on “hookups” that I feel VERY strongly may end up at the intersection of hell naw and what the fuck. This time I’m doing things differently. I’ve chosen to learn more about me by exploring others. All in an effort to snag me a husband because I believe in marriage and if I go about dating in the proper way my man will find me. I know he will.

    I just don’t think we can go wrong with doing things the way God and nature intended. Eating the proper foods for the nourishment of our bodies. Thinking the proper thoughts for the nourishment of our minds and spirit. Serving our fellow man to build strength and character for him and for ourselves. Finding our partner in our husband or wife so that we BOTH can live our FULLEST life. Now this doesn’t mean you can’t do great things while you are single. It doesn’t negate the amazing and wonderful contributions to our lives, to our families and to the world by those who aren’t married. It just means that if we want to get the MOST out of life, it takes a tag-team effort. A man needs a woman to help him create his reality and a woman needs a man’s strength and love to sustain her so she can educate her children and teach them how to spread love throughout the world. I won’t abandon the idea of marriage or the promise of true love because it “seems” now as if the pickings are slim. I won’t give up on living my best life, which for me includes getting married and having children, because the baggage left from former lovers is too heavy a burden to bear. I won’t ignore my need for love and companionship because my past relationships may be considered failures since things were too much for us to handle and we weren’t able to stay the course. I won’t continue to believe that I don’t have much to offer and that I don’t deserve the best because “I’m past my prime” and “my biological clock is ticking”. And though I’m numb, indifferent, disinterested, fearful, vulnerable and hopeful, I realize the only thing REALLY stopping me is me. Until tomorrow youngn’s.

  27. _vajrayogini_ says:

    I am writing a science blog with a spiritual/ eastern thinking angle. I am playing with interpeting the data in various ways and correlate biology with tantric myths and Buddha quotes. Mostly it is about science and it is part of the Nature blog community, and I would love to write more about the spiritual part and include more of the eastern gods and goddesses in the interpetation of biology.
    I want to share this blogpost, there was an image but I cannot insert it here http://annabirgersdotter.blogspot.com/2011/01/you

    Everything changes, nothing remains without change; says Buddha
    The only thing that never changes is change. Only change is constant, otherwise everything is changing; says Osho.

    Change is necessary for existence, and people have realized this in various ways through the ages. The essence of most ancient myths describes the constant death and rebirth that takes place in every level of existence.

    Scientists today can show that is true on the physiological level, molecular level, chemical level and physical level etc and this posting will focus on the physiological level. I plan to extend the parallells of science and "conciousness techniques", and write about constant change on the other levels as well.

    You might have heard people say that the body is new every seventh year. This is an approximation of the truth. Cells die and are being replaced at every moment in your body, but different organs are reconstituted on the cellular level at different speed. When I realized this, I also realized that my mediation teachers were absolutely right when they said “experience the body as if it was for the first time”. Because it is for the first time you experience this body with this composition of chemicals, virions, bacterias and cells that builds up you contemporary body.

    When you eat, the food is meshed up and then passed through the intestine in order for the body to soak up nutrition and minerals/chemicals. The inside of the intestine consist of hair-like structures that are called lumina, the depths between the hairs are referred to as crypts or even the crypt of the Lieberkuhn. These hair structures are covered by an epithelial cell layer.

    So why am I mentioning this?

    This image is from a histology book and shows the hairlike structures and the crypts from the inside of the intestine. the pinkish outer layer are the epithelial cells.
    This is the best studied area in the body when it comes to rapid and continuous renewal of cells i.e. physiological change. Stem cells reside in the bottom of these crypts, making the depths the birth place of the new cells, thus driving this renewal.

    What is a stem cell? That question requires a whole book. But as a theory; a stem cell is a so called pluripotent cell, it has the capacity and the potential to turn into any type of cell. Classical example; the first cells that appear after the fusion between the sperm and the egg. If you take away one of these cells, they can later be inserted into a womb and develop into an indivudal. This is the science behind in vitro fertilization. Another type of stem cells remain within every organ and is responsible for renewing the tissues. A third type is the so called cancer stem cells.

    The stem cell in this case is organ specific, it resides within the tissue it is suppose to reconstitue. It is the mother cell, she divides into daughter cells that are just a bit more specified than herself. These daughter can then give rise to various groups of cells. For example, one daughter cell divides and differentiate into epithelial cells, as part of the constant renewal of the epithelial cell layer that cover the intestine. The cells are pushed upward from the crypt along the hairs by the dividing cells. The cells on the top of the hairs die, let go and are replaced. The journey of a cell from the bottom of the crypt to the top takes approximately 3 weeks.

    If the balance between death and birth, i.e. the constant change is somehow disrupted, one might develop colon cancer.
    For a more in depth description of this intricate change and how it is biological controlled please have a look at; mhttp://www.pnas.org/content/98/22/12334.full and http://ajpgi.physiology.org/content/289/3/G381.fu
    for good research by Bjernes and his coworkers.

    Despite what we might think, we are never experiencing the same body. Our bodies are in constant change. This include the brain, the physiology that somehow keeps our ideas and our persona. We tend to think that this part is static but it is also in constant change. You are always experiencing your body for the first time.

  28. Hannah Siegle Balancing on Two Feet says:

    Divine Play

    Think back to when you were a child. School was out for the summer and nothing but endless hours of play stood before you. The constraints of time were absent and fear was a foreign concept. Thus you could be found atop the highest tree in the neighborhood or balancing on logs spanning across a creek. The worries of adulthood and intrusions of responsibility had yet to shatter your world. You were able to play.

    Another word for play is frolic. To me this word evokes images of a deer bounding through a field full of high grasses and embodies the full meaning of what it feels like inside to play.

    Childhood is over in the blink of an eye and play seems to fade to the background of life. The growth, turmoil, and discomfort of the teenage years give way to adulthood and life becomes full of the constraints of responsibility. Play? It is gone.

    This is where yoga enters the picture. Yoga is the means by which you can again reclaim the joy that play brings. Yoga is divine play. The mat serves as a safe haven where you can move freely; allowing untapped emotion to come to the surface, and perhaps feel the same joy that you once felt as a child.

    Often we come to the mat feeling that yoga is “just another workout” and at times feeling inadequate because we can’t do the pose “correctly.” Perhaps we feel we aren’t “good” at yoga and stumble home after class discouraged and exhausted. I want to challenge these ideas. Although yoga has become a visual activity; the way the postures appear, the trendy clothing, the toned bodies, this is not what it is all about. Yoga is an internal experience, feeling the alignment in your body, the release of emotion formally bound by fear. This internal experience is play. Feel the freedom of your mat. Look silly in a pose or perhaps make up your own. There are no rules. Each day is different from the next and let your mind align with your body with this concept.

    Next time you come to your mat do so with the intention of play, perhaps offering up your experience in a way to make it divine; divine play.

  29. gypsymoonfairy says:

    Storms
    I noticed something for the first time today. Something that I always thought I had seen…but was able to see with a different lens or filter as it were today. For the first time, I truly saw the beauty of the storm, the power of the winds of change, and the light and magic that illuminate the darkness. I found myself being pulled to go outside and stand in the wind. I closed my eyes and just stood outside looking up and waiting. I had no idea what I was waiting for, but I was waiting. Standing there facing the storm a gust of wind came up that nearly took me off my feet. As I fought to maintain balance I found myself laughing in delight. I opened my eyes and found bliss in the way the wind tossed my hair, loving the coolness of the wind gliding all over my skin. It was almost as if you could hear the wind speaking through the trees today; telling of an impending storm. Celebrating the changes by shaking the leaves off the trees in a brilliant display of confetti.

    Then the rain began to fall stinging my face as it fell fiercely from the sky. Instead of running inside, I danced….and the rain didn't hurt anymore. Instead, I felt it washing away all the worry, cleansing and cooling the wounds of the "fire" that I have been standing in. A moment later the sun began to peak timidly through the clouds…lighting small areas of the yard. That is when it all really began to sink in for me.

    I stood there and realized that power sometimes comes from letting go. Power comes from allowing the winds to pull away things that no longer serve you. When you find that power you become stronger because true personal power is found in peace with in ones self.

    For me peace comes in many ways. Peace comes from laughing at fear. Peace comes from dancing with the leaves in the rain while the wind blows. Peace comes from looking directly at the storm and not backing down. Peace comes from finding the courage and energy to stand back up …no matter how many times the wind knocks me down. Peace comes from living the life I want. In that peace there is silence….a quieting of the mind…..the ability to stop all the worry.

    I learned today that while a storm carries much power and I have NO ability to control it, it should not be feared. It should be respected, but not feared. For a storms, like changes in life, sometimes come in ominously and sometimes they catch us off guard. Sometimes we fear and fight them, and sometimes we revel and delight in them. However, we choose the handle the winds and storms we must remember they are a just a part of life, of growth, of change. Moving us always into the life we were meant to live, keeping us growing and learning, moving us always to the light.

  30. HayleyYogaUk says:

    O.k. Here goes…

    Yoga Runied My Life

    Yoga ruined my life. I came to it young, as a teenager. I fooled around and flirted with it for a while. It was purely physical; hot, sweaty and lustful, but then I fell in LOVE. Proper can’t eat, can’t sleep, want to be with it all the time, agonising love. Yoga took me into it’s heart and made the world make sense when I was convinced it didn’t. Nothing else mattered, only me and it against the world… Oh dear.

    Obviously, this couldn’t last it was completely unsustainable. It was an inappropriate, co-dependent relationship, which I then hated (obviously). I’d injured my body, I’d neglected those closest to me, I’d neglected myself. I had chosen it above all else. I had bottomed out, but then something shifted. I understood that it had to be this way. From the bottom, only then was I ready to meet it head on, from a place of mutual respect and truth. My friend Yoga. Of course, it welcomed me back with open arms and I went with an open heart. Every single day it inspires my actions, the inner most thoughts of my heart and my world, which has never quite been the same.

    This is my relationship with Yoga. Everybody’s relationship is different and I will never ever presume what yours will be. As a teacher I hope I give you the space to cultivate your own relationship. Watching you, holding your hand when you need me to, through rough and smooth. Helping you find your balance and peace with it. I want nothing more than for you to find what this practice means to you, all I ask is that you not fulfil your relationship from a template. Find something in that space that is your very own and that will inspire you everyday.
    <a href="http://www.thegoldenthread.tumblr.com” target=”_blank”>www.thegoldenthread.tumblr.com

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  35. Yogini5 says:

    The only reason I do so much yoga (primarily self-practice INCLUDING non-led classes at a studio) is because I switch off with some other activities, and to every practice I bring a lot of pilates floorwork [what I call "accessible" core - not big on inversions, even now that I can do them .... lol].

    Also, having been old enough to have lived in my young adulthood through the aerobics era like you, I switch out of those harsh styles of yoga.

    I made the mistake of looking back, and taking Baptiste-inspired power yoga classes, thinking I was making up for lost time. But I came back to my real yoga home …

  36. Diane says:

    Your heart is bright and we all benefit when you shine its light upon us. Here's to sisterhood, sister!

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